Army medics from Hampshire to deploy to South Sudan on UN mission

Captain Ruth Black and fellow medics
Captain Ruth Black and fellow medics
A Royal Navy shot of a helicopter winching exercise

Navy aircrewman hits milestone on city ship

  • Gosport-based 33 Field Hospital have been honing their skills ahead of the African tour
  • They will be supporting British and UN peacekeeping forces in South Sudan
  • The team of 78 medics will be deploying to the African state in the next few weeks
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ARMY medics based in Gosport have been putting their skills to the test ahead of their next major deployment.

The 78 medics from 33 Field Hospital have been practising at York’s specialist training centre for military medicine.

It comes ahead of their tour to South Sudan in the next few weeks where they will be based in a temporary tented field hospital.

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They will be supporting United Nations (UN) peacekeepers and staff, including Royal Engineers carrying out engineering tasks, in the region.

And to hone their skills, the team of medics were tested on a variety of emergencies they could face in the African nation, using sophisticated mannequins and simulated casualties.

One of squad was Captain Ruth Black, of Portsmouth. She works as a nurse in the emergency department.

‘Training has been really well presented and very accurate to the things we believe we will get out there,’ she said.

‘It has played heavily on the disease, non-battle injury side.

‘The emergency department has looked at potential accidents so we are not looking at gunshot wounds any more, we are looking at perhaps crush injuries or falls from height.

‘So, from that point of view, the training has been extensive and I feel quite prepared now.’

Captain Black said the tour to South Sudan was going to be challenging – particularly dealing with the climate.

‘We are going in the rainy season and we all live in England, it is a different kind of rain,’ she added.

‘With the rain comes standing water and anything that has standing water potentially causes an uplift in the amount of mosquitoes, so there are a lot of things we have to put in place to prevent our own people getting sick before we can look after other people who have become sick or injured.’

Training for the deployment has been taking place over nine months.

Currently there are about 360 British troops based in South Sudan. Once 33 Field Hospital arrives at the UN’s headquarters in Juba, this will rise to more than 400.